Ghali Hassan. Axis of Logic. 6.20.11
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was created in 1945 by the U.S., not only as a tool to advance U.S. imperialist interests, but also to dominate West Europe economically and militarily. NATO’s purpose was to defend its members and to counter any threat from the former Soviet Union and its allies. As an anachronism, NATO’s new agenda is endless wars against defenceless civilian populations.
In their meeting of 13 May 2011 in the White House, President Barack Obama and NATO Secretary-General (accurately, NATO spokesperson) Anders Fogh Rasmussen, pledged to continue NATO’s wars on Muslim nations, including the illegal aggressions against Afghanistan and Libya. Rasmussen, an Islamophobe former Danish prime minister, wrote recently: “NATO’s operational commitments have changed beyond recognition in the past 20 years. From Afghanistan to Kosovo, from the coast of Somalia to Libya, we have never been busier” conducting endless wars of aggression against defenceless civilian populations. Rasmussen should have added: “Our experience in Afghanistan and Libya will be employed for future aggressions”.
One by one, European countries have been brought into a NATO expeditionary force of 28 members. Once joining the organisation, new NATO members have to upgrade and “modernise” their military and armoured forces to U.S. standards. They have to buy mostly U.S.-made arms benefiting the U.S. military-industrial complex. In addition, NATO is often used as a cover for U.S. aggression. For example, the aggressions against Afghanistan and Libya – both legitimised by the United Nation (UN) – are depicted as NATO operations. In reality, they are U.S.-led aggressions. The contributions from NATO members, compared with the U.S., are miniscule and used for propaganda purposes, giving the aggression an international colour and legitimacy. On 10 June 2011, U.S. Defence Secretary, Robert Gates was clear about the contributions of NATO members: “The mightiest military alliance in history is only 11 weeks into an operation against a [defenceless] poorly armed regime in a sparsely populated [Libya], yet many allies are beginning to run short of munitions, requiring the U.S., once more, to make up the difference”. One important point is that Europeans (the people) are not interested in spending on militarism to serve U.S. imperialism.
NATO Aggression against Afghanistan
In Afghanistan, there are more than 150,000 foreign troops supported by the biggest and most advanced military forces on the planet. They are engaged in a nearly ten-year war serving under the so-called NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), a cover designed to give the U.S. war an international image.
The war on Afghanistan is illegal. There has never been a legitimate pretext to justify the aggression. According to Professor Michael Mandel of Toronto’s Osgoode Hall Law School, the war on Afghanistan “violate[s] international law and the express words of the United Nations Charter”. He added: Article 51 only “gives a state the right to repel an attack that is ongoing or imminent as a temporary measure until the UN Security Council can take steps necessary for international peace and security”. In addition, Marjorie Chen, a professor of law at Thomas Jefferson School of Law rejected that the war against Afghanistan was a legitimate self defence. (See Notes: 1 & 2).
In May 2011, a poll conducted by the International Council on Security and Development (ICSD) found that 70-87 percent (depends where in Afghanistan) of Afghans are against the presence of foreign troops and the U.S.-NATO murderous Occupation of their country.
As U.S.-NATO leaders are growing increasingly desperate, attacks on civilians (mostly women and children) have become more frequent and indiscriminate. Despite UN and Western organisations (“NGOs”) efforts to whitewash U.S.-NATO crimes against civilians, media reports reveal that tens of thousands of innocent Afghan civilians have been killed by U.S.-NATO airstrikes and ground operations in various parts of Afghanistan.
On 12 May 2011, NATO troops killed a 12-year-old girl and a policeman, her relative, in Nangarhar province. According to the girl’s father: ‘They (foreign troops) hurled a hand grenade at my daughter after she ran out of the room in a panic. She was killed on the spot’. (Pajhwok Afghan News, May 12, 2011).
On 15 May 2011, U.S.-led NATO troops killed a 12-year-old girl and injured four other girls ages 8 to 15 in Afghanistan’s Kunar province. The day before NATO forces killed a 15-year-old boy, the son of an Afghan soldier, in a night raid in Nangarhar province, resulting in a demonstration by local Afghans that was fired upon by government forces with four protesters killed, including a 14-year-old boy.
On 29 May 2011, Afghan authorities said NATO forces had killed 52 civilians in airstrikes in Helmand. “During the air strikes, two civilian houses were targeted which killed 14 civilians and six others were wounded,” reported the AFP. The dead included five girls, seven boys and two women. According to the Australian Counterinsurgency advisor David Kilcullen, 98% of drone strikes are against unarmed civilians. They are also illegal acts of aggression.
When Afghan “president” Hamid Karzai asked NATO to stop attacking civilians in their homes, he was rebuffed. NATO leaders rejected the demand, claiming that “attacking Afghan homes is ‘necessary’ and would continue going forward”. They also claimed that the Afghan “government” has no right under UN-mandated murderous Occupation to forbid attacks on civilians. The deliberate and indiscriminate attacks on civilians are designed to terrorise the civilian population and to force submission and surrender. For example, deadly missile attacks on wedding celebrations are not mistakes; they are deliberate acts of terrorism aimed at terrorising the population.
Furthermore, in neighbouring Pakistan, U.S. drone missile attacks have killed eight people in North Waziristan on 12 May 2011, after which ‘locals said the dead were innocent people’ (The Nation, 13 May 2011). Two days before, “U.S. drone aircraft fired two missiles at a vehicle, killing at least five people and injuring seven others” in South Waziristan. According to a Pakistani opposition party member; “The NATO attack was not accidental but a calculated and planned move to target Pakistan so as to hide its failure in Afghanistan. The violation of Pakistani territory indicated that the US was planning to push the war inside Pakistan” (News International, 28 April 2011).
NATO Aggression against Libya
In Libya, U.S.-NATO illegal aggression continues in flagrant violation of international law and civilised norms. It is clear that U.S.-NATO members have exceeded and violated UN Resolution 1973, which was initially meant to provide a cover for the aggression against the Libyan people. “The Western [aggression] against Libya wasn’t undertaken to protect human rights or foster democracy. It was launched with the aim of breaking Libya up politically so as to prevent the unification of three revolutionary Arab states – Egypt, Libya and Tunisia – which together might pose a threat to Israeli regional dominance”, Mohamed al-Sakhawi of Egypt’s Arabic Unity Party told IPS News(18 June 2011).
Since the aggression began on 19 March 2011, U.S.-NATO forces have conducted some 11,000 air missions, including over 4500 combat sorties. In addition, hundreds of cruise missiles were launched against a virtually defenceless African nation. These acts of terror, we are told, are legitimised by the UN Security Council, or as Colonel Muammar al-Qadhafi accurately called it, the “Terror Council”. The attacks killed thousands of Libyan civilians and wounded many more. In addition, the attacks caused a mass exodus of foreign migrants (workers), thousands of whom lost their lives at sea and many thousands more abused and terrorised by the pro-Western “rebels”.
Encouraged by Colonel al-Qadhafi’s call for a cease fire, the majority of the world’s nations, including African nations (the African Union) have called for an immediate end to U.S.-NATO’s aggression to allow Libyans to find a political solution. Of course, U.S.-NATO leaders are not interested in the business of peace and consider the Libyan people their enemy. NATO leaders openly declared that: NATO’s terror attacks will continue against the Libyan people until the Libyan leader Colonel al-Qadhafi leaves Libya. Meanwhile, Colonel al-Qadhafi continues to enjoy the support of the overwhelming majority of the Libyan people, and courageously refused to be intimidated by the terrorists.
On 30 April 2011, in an illegal act of ‘targeted assassination’, NATO-U.S. war planes attacked al-Qadhafi’s family home, killing his son, Saif al-Arab, his three grandchildren, and several friends and relatives. The attack was in flagrant violation of international law. On 20 April 2011, U.S.-NATO air attacks on al-Qadhafi in Tripoli killed 7 civilians and wounded 18 others. Glorified by the BBC, the criminal attacks were justified as attacks on al-Qadhafi’s “Command and Control Centre”. This is a lie even by the Nazis’ standard. But you wonder if the BBC will call a military attack on 10 Downing Street, an attack on the David Cameron Command and Control Centre.
On 13 May 2011, NATO aircraft bombed the Libyan city of Brega, killing 16 civilians, including 11 clerics who were there on a peace mission, and wounding 45 others. Statements were made by two Imams who had driven through the night from the Brega site to Tripoli for the press conference to condemn the NATO bombing of their brethren.
A day after the massacre, Libyan government spokesperson, Moussa Ibrahim presented strong evidence that a massacre of Libyan religious leaders by NATO was carried out in the oil port of Brega. The press conference was attended by Libyan religious leaders, mainly Muslim, but included both Orthodox and Catholic representatives.
According to Moussa Ibrahim, on Friday, 13 May 2011, over 150 of Libya’s most senior Imams gathered in Brega to hold a peace conference on how to end the fighting in Libya. Brega was chosen for the site because it is the closest government-held town to the rebel-held stronghold of Benghazi, and the Imams planned to send a delegation to Benghazi with a peace proposal following the conference.
Bombing a peace conference of Libyan religious leaders shows just how much NATO is threatened by any chance of a cease-fire. Any break in the NATO air offensive will only benefit the government and hurt the rebellion, with reports from western journalists in Benghazi telling of increasing infighting between local rebels and those recently returned from exile who have been trying to take over. If Benghazi loses its water supply the clock starts ticking towards the day when Benghazi’s “rebels” must surrender or evacuate the city.
Between 19 March 2011 and 26 May 2011, NATO air attacks killed 718 civilians and wounded 4,067, mostly in and around Tripoli. Meanwhile, NATO members have began using helicopter gunships, U.S. Hellfire missile-wielding Predators, and unmanned aerial vehicles operations in their attacks on major Libyan population centres, such as Tripoli.
On 10 June 2011, NATO war planes, conducted raids against Libya killed an Algerian mother, Benkacem Nicira, 41 and her two sons, Sadiki Abdelmalek, 22, and Bilal, 19 in the oil city of Ben Jawad, near Ras Lanuf. On 15 June 2011, a NATO airstrike attacked a bus loaded with passengers in Kikla city, about 120 km southwest of Tripoli, killing 12 civilians and wounding two others, according to Xinhua news.
According to former U.S. Congresswoman, Cynthia McKinney, who is in Tripoli, NATO forces have attacked ‘hospitals, universities, schools, residential houses, and other non-military sites, causing numerous civilian casualties. The aim is to terrorise the civilian population and force the people to capitulate. Hence, U.S.-led NATO air attacks are deliberately and mercilessly targeting the civilian population and Libya’s civilian infrastructure.
Further, NATO has adopted a U.S.-Zionist policy of collective punishment, including international sanctions against the Libyan people. Collective punishment is a form of retaliatory action targeting the civilian population, including women and children in violation of the Geneva Conventions. This policy was used by the Nazis during the German occupation of Poland and by the U.S.-Britain during the 13-year long genocidal sanctions against the Iraqi people that killed more than a million Iraqi civilians, including 600,000 infants under the age of 5. It is considered one of Israel’s brutal policies of terrorising the Palestinian people.
In justifying the aggression against Libya, Obama claims the U.S. has the right to attack any defenceless nation wherever it deems U.S. imperialist “interests and values” to be at stake. Unashamed of his own despicable hypocrisy, Obama asserted that the attacks on Libya are to promote “democracy” and “human rights” as an established Western propaganda to manipulate public opinions and to portray the West as a “compassionate” and “ethical” society. Remember, this is a Nobel Peace Prize winner. But, from Vietnam to Iraq to Afghanistan to Yugoslavia and to Libya, America’s “human rights” record is outright criminal.
Regrettably, despite the horrendous atrocities committed by U.S.-NATO forces against defenceless civilians, people in the West, the American people in particular, remain mute and ignorant. They are consumed by endless fantasies, manipulated and diverted like a “bewildered herd”. They have been indoctrinated “not to get involved in politics” and to mind their own business.
Finally, whether it is the ongoing U.S.-NATO aggression against Afghanistan or the U.S.-NATO aggression against Libya, U.S.-NATO aggressions have nothing to do with “democracy”, “protecting civilians”, or “human rights” whatever the pretexts. The primary aim is the total control over the planet’s resources through military violence, terrorising the civilian population, and imposing Western-pliant rightwing-dictatorships to serve U.S.-Zionist interests.
In reality, the U.S. and its Western allies fear democracy and development more than anything else. In fact, most Western leaders, including Barack Obama, openly support the dictatorships in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the rest of the Gulf’s despotic regimes as the kinds of “democratic” regimes they like to “deal” with. The U.S. and its Western allies love the Saudi Arabia model of “democracy”. Ostensibly, this is because in addition to serving U.S.-Zionist interests, the Saudi model provides the West with an example of an “Islamic” regime, which is often used to demonise Muslims and Islam and, more importantly, “mobilise the ‘Islamophobic’ aspects of [Western] public opinion”, the Egyptian “Marxist”, Samir Amin observes. Saudi Arabia is the most oppressive, backward and weak despotic regime – yet it is the U.S.-West’s most “trusted” ally.
As the U.S. and its Western allies become more addicted to war and terror, there will be far more innocent people killed by U.S.-NATO forces in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Only resistance by people worldwide will stop NATO terror and force Western leaders to choose the path of peace.
*Ghali Hassan is an independent political analyst living in Australia.
. Michael Mandel, “This War is Illegal,” CounterPunch, 09 October 2001.
. Marjorie Cohn, “Bombing of Afghanistan is Illegal and Must be Stopped,” Jurist, 06 November 2001.
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